To the Editor:
This is an open letter to Mr. Torgny Astrom, chairman of the Planning Commission.
Dear Mr. Astrom:
At a special meeting on Monday, Aug. 11, the Planning Commission is going to review the Oak Hills Park Authority’s Master Plan.
Members of the Commission must know that the 2008 City of Norwalk Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) stipulates that:
- The city should seek “citizen participation in planning and governance” and include “the public in the formative stages of the planning process.
- There must be competition for contracting services.
- The city should preserve public park open space to the greatest extent possible.
- Residential neighborhoods must be protected from incompatible development.
- Proper handling and disposal of hazardous materials must be ensured.
Yet the OHPA’s Master Plan:
- Was developed behind closed doors without any substantive attempt to involve a representative cross section of citizens in the process.
- Was not developed with the help of a professional planner selected by means of a competitive process. Instead the OHPA chose Total Driving Range Solutions, a recently established firm in Norwalk that seeks to construct a driving range in Oak Hills Park, to help draw up the plan.
- Calls for the construction of a large commercial driving range that encroaches on open space in Oak Hills Park.
- Does not take into account the effect increased traffic and noise associated with the proposed driving range might have on the residential quality of the West Norwalk neighborhood in which the Park is situated.
- Does not stipulate how hazardous chemicals used to maintain the golf course will be handled.
For these five reasons alone the Planning Commission should reject the OHPA’s Master Plan and call for a new Master Plan to be developed by a professional planner with active input from all our city’s stakeholders.